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Dietitian or Journalist?

Using social media has been a great experiment for me and sometimes makes me feel a bit like a journalist. That made me think about my role as a dietitian and I realized that there are some similarities. Journalists answer the questions what, where, when, who, why and how. As a dietitian, I do the same thing.

Most people think that my role is just about the "what"… what is a person eating, what should someone be eating, what foods will help, what portion sizes, etc. This is not entirely wrong because the "what" is important to know and many dietitians will make this the focus of their practice. This is not my favourite question to answer and is not my focus. Most people nowadays can answer the what questions on their own. Most people know what they need to work on and what they need to do to help themselves.

"Where" is a question that I do ask but it's not my main focus either. The "where" is important because it affects the "what" and the "how". For example, a person will eat differently in a restaurant than they would if they were eating at home.

"When" helps me establish a person's eating patterns…when are they eating their meals and snacks? This is important because it can affect blood sugar levels, metabolism, binging behaviour etc.

"Who" also affects a person's eating…who are you eating with? Their eating habits can affect your eating habits. Also, eating with someone can be different than eating alone. It's a good question to ask but still not my main focus.

"How" a person eats is a good question. Are they eating fast or slow? Are they being mindful of what they are eating, tasting everything and enjoying it or not? Are they playing with their food instead of eating it, etc…?

My favourite question to work on with a client is "why"? Why are you eating the way you are, why are you eating certain foods and avoiding others, why do you feel a certain way when you eat something, why aren't you able to change the necessary eating behaviours? If a person can answer the "why" questions, the other questions became much easier to answer. As I always say to my clients, it's never about the food itself! It's not "what" you are eating, it's "why" you are eating it? The "why" is the interesting part and the "why" is what you need to be asking yourself.

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